Monday, April 18, 2005

32 Microns

Coverage of the trial on the merits of the M3Power ad campaign continues in the Connecticut Post Online. Kevin Powell, director of Gillette's Advanced Technology Center, came from England to testify at the trial.
Powell described a series of tests of oscillating razors that indicated that vibrations extended hair sometimes as much as 83 microns, depending on the type of blade used. One micron equals approximately 0.00004 inch.

The M3P, according to Powell, extends hair approximately 32 microns, but he admitted he has never tested the current model being marketed, and his figures are based on a prototype.

The Gillette lab also ran tests to see if the way people prepare to shave affects hair extension. The tests showed that just about any time moisture is added to the skin, hair exposure is decreased, most likely because skin soaks up the moisture and hides some of the hair, Powell said. However, when a person rubs his or her face for 20 seconds with a dry finger, hair extends 19.8 microns, according to the tests. But Powell noted that shaving without moisture would be "excruciating." Powell also showed off some of his lab's technology.
Of course, there's more than one expert being called to testify.
Powell wasn't the only scientist questioned Wednesday. John Thornton, an independent statistical consultant who analyzed results from tests that Schick ran on the M3P to see if it performed as Gillette claimed, testified that the data revealed that "there was no significant statistical change in hair length with power on or power off."
But Thornton admitted that his conclusion is derived only from the test data he was given, and that one couldn't conclude that the M3P doesn't extend hair.
It's amazing how much money is involved in something so small. The "hair-lengthening" effect that Gillette is advertising is measured with a microscope, but it's worth untold millions of dollars to the company.

For comparison, hair for most people tends to grow about 200 to 400 microns per day, most of the time (as an estimate).

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